Research will show that gratitude is a powerful force for creating positive changes in individuals, families, and organizations. In fact, the expression of gratitude is a kind of meta-strategy for achieving happiness. Some of the more detailed research findings are:
- We have found that consistently grateful people are much more energetic, forgiving, emotionally intelligent and less likely to be lonely, depressed or anxious.
- Researchers have selected random volunteers and trained them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks or months. These people have eventually shown that they become happier and more optimistic, they feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, and even experience fewer headaches than control groups.
- By acknowledging kindness you’ll then experience more of it in your personal life. Counting kindness interventions involving taking daily tallies (mental or physical) of kind acts committed and witnessed and have been shown to increase people’s levels of positivity.
- Gratitude always encourages moral behaviour and helps people cope with stress, trauma, and adversity.
- Gratitude also inhibits negative comparisons with others and pushes out and replaces negative emotions.
- When we express our gratitude to others we strengthen our relationship with them.
- Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives
- Grateful people also have more physical health and spend more time exercising.
In “The Happiness Project”, the best-selling biographical experiment in positive psychology, Gretchen Rubin explains the benefits of increased thankfulness in her own life:
“Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you’re grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others. Gratitude fosters forbearance – it’s harder to feel disappointed with someone when you’re feeling grateful toward him or her. Gratitude also connects you to the natural world, because one of the easiest things to feel grateful for is the beauty of nature.”